As another location on the 10 places I wanted to visit in London this year, I decided to book a ticket for two to the Icebar in Mayfair for my partners Valentine’s gift (obviously I knew he would be bringing me along with him)
I had heard of the Icebar before but the idea of sitting in a bar in the cold didn’t appeal to me, I’m more of a sitting in the sun with a cocktail type of girl! However I do like to look out for different and quirky places to visit that I can experience as a one off and as I saw a deal on Groupon that included drinks and a meal I went ahead and ordered it.
The icebar is split into three sections. As you enter and give your details (it is advised to book in advance) you are asked to wait in the normal ‘warm’ bar for the next icebar session to start. You can only stay in the icebar for a maximum of 40 mins so everyone that has booked will enter at the same time.
On entering you are given a, not so flattering but very warm, cape to wear and you take your ticket to the bar to redeem for your cocktail. A normal ticket will give you one free drink which is served in a glass made of ice, remember to put your gloves on otherwise it will just slip out of your hand! You are advised to keep that glass if you want to purchase more drinks in this bar as they charge an extra £4 for another one. I was worried about using an ice glass but I actually really liked it, the part you drink from melts with the warmth of your mouth as you drink and it just feels like you have an alcoholic ice lolly.
The icebar currently has a theme of ‘wild in the city’ with sculptures of animals enjoying themselves on vacation in London, the theme changes annually and is due to be revamped soon. There is a bit of a nightclub feel with loud music and the lighting occasionally diming. It didn’t feel as cold as I was expecting with it being -5 but it may be because there is quite a lot of people in the small space. As you leave the ice bar the warmth hits you like it does as you step off the aeroplane on a summer holiday.
I was worried that when I booked a meal in the restaurant that I would be sitting huddled in a corner eating in the cold but the restaurant is a stark difference to the bar, in fact it is the complete opposite with the dark wood furnishings and warmth radiating from the two large screens showing a burning fireplace on the wall.
The voucher that I purchased included a cocktail in the ice bar and a Bellini with the meal. I don’t usually order starters but as the deal included a starter, main and dessert I opted for the Grilled king crab in spicy butter, this included courgette crab roll topped with salmon cavier and the OH ordered coal roasted cauliflower with quails egg.
The menu includes a choice of six starters, seven main courses and three desserts, there are also a range of side orders that can be added with an extra charge. The starter was really light with a nice mix of flavours and I hadn’t tried salmon caviar before, they reminded me of the tapioca balls in bubble tea but with a fishy flavour.
Another thing I hadn’t tasted before was monkfish which the OH ordered for his main. I gave it a try and was surprised by the meatiness of the fish, I really liked it and would definitely order it myself in the future. I opted for the cheeseburger, I was sold by the caramel jus flavour and there was a slight sweetness to it, I was more taken by the way it was presented on its own little tray with a couple of sauces in pots and a jar of sliced gherkin (although I forgot to eat those)
With only a few choices for dessert we went for the chocolate brownie and the tiramisu ice cream sandwich. The brownie was delicious (what brownie isn’t?) although it was quite a small portion, just as well as the OH wasn’t too keen on his ice cream sandwich so I had to eat some of that too! We were expecting a normal wafer for the sandwich but it was more of a coconut macaroon which looked like a rice cake and was filled with coffee flavoured ice cream.
Overall we had a really nice experience at the ice bar and restaurant. I figure if you pay for everything separately it could probably get quite expensive so I would definitely recommend looking out for an offer on Groupon but bear in mind they charge extra for any additional items you order (hello crumble cocktail) and service charge for the entire bill.
Have you ever had cocktails at -5 degrees?